PM Outlines More Measures to Cushion Ethiopia’s Economy

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has outlined his administration’s latest move to cushion the economy over the impact of Coronavirus.

The government is currently injecting 15 billion Ethiopian birr ($456 million) as liquidity for private banks through Ethiopia’s National Bank.

The decision was made at the end of March as part of government response to soften the blow of the pandemic. On Friday, the prime minister announced further moves.

“To mitigate the adverse impact of #COVID19 on our economy, it is critical to take measures to protect employment and income,” he twitted.

Such measures include scaling up safety net programs to the most vulnerable; maintain the supply chain of key commodities and support the productive sectors of the economy, according to Abiy.

“Ensuring agricultural productivity is also critical to our food security,” he said. “We will ensure uninterrupted supplies of fertilizers, improved seeds, (and) pesticides to prevent any potential supply shortages”.

He also expressed his fear that insufficient public health measures may “prolong the economic crisis”.

And therefore “we will also invest heavily in the health system as part of our economic responses” Prime Minister Abiy added.

The government has already implemented tax exemptions for imports of products related to curbing the coronavirus outbreak and make foreign currency available for importers.

Africa’s second-most populous nation has registered 114 cases so far, but the virus has already hit the country’s economy hard. It is a major supplier of coffee and flowers to Europe.